WorldSchooling: Our Fall 2016 Education Choices

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A “typical” day (when not out of town on a field trip): Science in English, History in Spanish, Arabic vocabulary game, Geography scavenger hunt, Election co-op, writing prompt in Spanish, and Swim class… By typical I mean on this particular day. No two are really ever the same!

Let’s start at the beginning: What is WorldSchooling?

WorldSchooling is an educational paradigm where we use the whole world as a learning opportunity and tool. Different families use and include various materials in order to achieve their educational goals, but the idea is always the same: immersing our children in the real, multi-cultural world and allowing them to use the whole world as the best “school”.

We love WorldSchooling our daughter on the move, but we also make it a priority when we are spending a little while longer in any one particular base. Mackenzie has worked on her multiplication tables in Cambodia, completed book reports in Thailand, learned about history first hand in Prague, learned about scientific discoveries in London, and used Dubai, Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and two U.S. cross-country road trips as the jumping point for learning experiences. Additionally, she has twice enrolled in local schools in Mexico to immerse in Spanish language and Mexican culture.

As we settled into our current location and I began to plan for this school year (yes, I still call it “school year”- a remnant of years of traditional school, three higher education degrees, and years teaching in the public school system) I was very aware of the diverse materials I wanted to employ. You see, we have “grounded” ourselves for this year. With plans in the making for the next half-decade, we have decided to use our current base as a kind of rest before the fun. The results?

We are worldschooling using our base as a launching pad for localized travel and adventure (meaning we are discovering and adventuring in the USA), teaching a third language to the kiddo, learning about world cultures and geography, and creating a solid base for our future travels. We are also having our most traditional homeschooling year ever.

So, what are we doing for school this year?

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Textbooks, workbooks, games, reading books, and art supplies.

LANGUAGE ARTS:

  • Spelling: I have a list of words that we are working through and a long list of activities and games that she can choose on a daily basis to work on the spelling. As worldschoolers the list includes words in English, Spanish and Arabic. The wonderful thing about our spelling list is that it also doubles as a vocabulary lesson.
  • Cursive: We have already covered Cursive writing in our lessons but I have created a book of inspirational quotes and favorite sayings from around the world that she is reading and copying in cursive. She likes reading the quotes and they usually spark a conversation- an amazing bonus! And she keeps up with her beautiful penmanship.
  • Grammar: Amco textbook. There is a grammar section in the Amco textbook (in the English and Spanish sections) and we are using the lessons to work on our grammar.

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  • Writing: We have created our own “Homeschool Newspaper” with friends. The kids all pick a different section to write for and create/ write their own stories and reports. In the coming months I envision our newspaper as a place to write about other countries, share thoughts on cultures we learn about, and maybe reviews of international food.
  • Other considerations for the near future include: Fix It Grammar, Worldly Wise 3000, and Spelling You See.

MATH:

  • Amco textbook, Math section (in English and in Spanish)
  • We are using Saxon Math 5/6 textbook and workbook
  • We are working on fractions and bought a workbook specifically for this purpose: Fractions & Decimals. The in-depth exercises have been incredible in helping her stay focused and getting the extra work to learn the material.
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We have loved the focused approach that a math workbook like this gives us and Mac has really enjoyed learning all about fractions

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Our blackboard has become a great aid for my little visual learner

SOCIAL STUDIES:

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As we study the geography of Mexico we add information to this map the kiddo made herself- we’re looking into the natural resources of the land at the moment

  • Horrible Histories (books and YouTube videos)
  • Maps, Charts & Graphs: The United States Past & Present, a geography workbook.
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I love geography and have always made it a point to teach the kiddo how to read, use, and make maps

  • Amco textbook. We use the Amco Geografia de Mexico, Civica, and Historia de Mexico sections in Spanish and the Geography and History sections in English
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Textbooks will only take you so far. Here I created a word finder to help with the unit vocabulary.

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I love the SEP books so much! There’s always great graphics, activities, web links, and kid friendly lessons.

  • I create multi-faceted, cultural units in which we study the history, geography, culture, food, money, clothing, and customs of a country and study it in-depth.

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These handy coloring books prove that you don’t have to spend a fortune on curriculum to create a great lesson. There’s fun information, useful activities, maps, flags, and cultural customs within the pages of these books.

  • Elections & American Government co-op- using several resources including iCivics, field trips to government offices and museums, and the plethora of information concerning the upcoming election.
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Visiting the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia… the perfect field trip for our Election co-op

SCIENCE:

  • We have been growing tadpoles and tracking the weekly progress
  • We use field trips in order to engage in real world science including the Maryland Science Center, the National Aquarium, IMAX movies on the Human Body and Geography
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Hands-on science experiments at the Maryland Science Center

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Getting to pet Jellyfish at the National Aquarium

  • Hands-on science experiments with every lesson
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Building a battery and playing with circuits

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Why doesn’t the baggie pop?

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What better way to learn about saturated, diluted and concentrated liquids than by experimenting with milk and chocolate syrup? It’s always a great bonus when we can consume out science experiments!

  • We participated in the Maryland Science Center Homeschool Days program and took 6 days worth of classes led by their experienced team
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Learning about energy!

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Looking straight at the sun!

  • We have enrolled in various homeschool classes at the Lancaster Science Factory for live, hands-on science in a group setting
  • Junior Explorers Science Program
  • Mystery Science video program
  • Coding and Robotics opportunities
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Using a sphero to learn to code. The blue tape is all over our floor but the kiddo had a blast!

  • We do also use three Science textbooks (one in English and two in Spanish): Lincoln Interactive 5th Grade Science Textbook, Amco Science (from the textbooks used at Colegio Reina Isabel in Tijuana, Mexico- our immersion school last year), and Sciencia 5 (the official textbook used by the SEP- the Department of Education in Mexico).
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Science meets Math meets Notetaking

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Learning about the Periodic Table and taking our learning out into the Supermarket

SPANISH:

  • Amco Spanish textbooks. These books are created and used by Colegio Reina Isabel- our immersion school last year. We were so pleased with the books and the learning tools that we have decided to continue using them. The textbook includes literature, spelling, vocabulary, grammar and writing.
  • Reading books. Before we left Mexico we bought plenty of literature books in Spanish and stocked up for this school year (or at least for part of it).
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Before we left Mexico we stopped at the book store at the CECUT and bought more than enough books for this school year (this is but a small sample)

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I like that Mac can read this series in both Spanish and English and make comparissons

ARABIC:

  • Mango Language App. This language tool works as a monthly subscription service or a free program through the local library. We researched several of these programs and decided to use this one because it was the most user friendly and child friendly. (Free App)
  • Learning Arabic App. This wonderful app has been amazing in helping with Arabic sounds. The alphabet section lets me pick a letter and listen to its sound. (Free App)
  • Arabic by Nemo App. This is another app that is very helpful for listening skills and word recognition. (Free App)
  • Arabic Workbook. There are many free resources and worksheets available online and I have selected the ones best suited for young learners and created our own workbook. The worksheets have been great in practicing Arabic letters and penmanship.
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Her third language: Arabic

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Learning the alphabet and tracing the new shapes

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Her penmanship in Arabic is pretty good!

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The colors in Arabic: opening the doorway to all kinds of fun game possibilities

  • Arabic Games: I am a big believer in active learning. Why sit in a desk and repeat the same word over and over when you can play charades, memory games, Arabic jeopardy, Arabic dominoes, twister, bingo, Simon says, candy land, and many other active games in order to learn the necessary vocabulary.
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Arabic twister, a great way to learn the primary colors

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Mix and match Arabic script, English and transliteration

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Arabic memory match game

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Making posters out of our vocabulary words

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Our Arabic “sight words” in glitter… to be posted around our classroom

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Arabic dominoes… a great way to learn our vocabulary

ART:

  • Community Theatre: The kiddo has auditioned for and landed several roles in local theatre productions. The theatre is an amazing program that adds script reading, acting, making new friends, and learning new skills into our lives.
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The kiddo’s play

TECHNOLOGY:

  • Utilized Pages, Numbers, and Keynote programs to create informational posters of our reading books and informational hand-outs out of our research
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The assignment was to research a vacation spot and plan 3 days of travel. She did it all by herself!

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  • Used Stop Motion Technology and Apps in order to create videos
  • Created YouTube videos and learned various editing software programs to make videos
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Science and video making: a great match

  • Learned how to make an iMovie and utilize various methods to perfect and edit said movies

PHYSICAL EDUCATION:

  • Homeschool Swim Team at the local YMCA
  • Gymnastics

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OTHER:

  • Girl Scout Troop
  • Guitar classes

FIELD TRIPS & EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES: Our lives are full of learning and constant movement and if there is one thing I make sure of it is to plan in many field trips into our learning- in whatever country we happen to call home at the moment. Games and hands-on learning come in at a close second, but field trips are definitely a central focus in our “school”. So far we have enjoyed the following field trips:

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Geology and hiking fun

  • BonTon Fashion Show
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She enjoyed the runway

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Making campaign buttons for the Presidential election

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  • Tour of the U.S. Mint
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We loved learning about how coins are made and everything that goes into each one

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Looking out into space, and the sun

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Jousting fun

  • Washington, D.C. (U.S. Capitol tour, U.S. Supreme Court, monuments tour)
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Learning about the construction, material, and history behind the Washington Monument

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  • U.S. Army Jazz Band Concert
  • Popcorn Hat Players
  • Robotics & Coding Presentation
  • Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center tour and guided program
  • Visit to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia
  • Visit to the National Islamic Center of D.C. and Q & A session with a lovely young Muslim woman
  • Campbell’s Candy making workshop
  • Fox Weather Meteorologist Q & A
  • Toured and took classes at the National Building Museum
  • Goddard Space Center
  • Visit to the National Museum of Mathematics
  • many, many more…

I know that the list of our educational components is incredibly long but we try to keep it pretty varied and interesting. I do keep a schedule and lesson plans in my handy planner. I like to keep myself accountable for reaching our daily and weekly goals, but I am also flexible and always willing to let life guide us in our educational path.

We’re busy and happy with our current base… and already planning for the next change in a few months. Our worldschooling adventures are currently centered on the U.S. and, with several states and cities already enjoyed, we are well on our way with this school year’s discoveries.

If you would like to follow along on our family adventures, both in our current base and as we travel around the world, “like” us on our Facebook page: Border Free Adventures for more pictures, stories, videos, and fun information as we WorldSchool our daughter.

 

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